Blue neon signs, a cyber lounge and DirecTV will highlight the Marvin Center fifth floor when it reopens as the Hippodrome later this week, administrators said.
The renovations of the fifth floor began in June and will be completely finished around the end of October, Assistant Director of Staffing and Student Development Scott E. Jones said.
He said parts of the floor should be operational by Friday. The Dine-A-Vision Lounge, which will offer a menu similar to the old J Street diner, will not open until the end of the month. The official grand opening probably will not take place until the beginning of November, Jones said.
The opening of the kitchen hinges on D.C.’s permit office, because getting permission to open a public food service is much more complicated than opening the other parts of the floor, Project Manager Les Hegyi said. Hegyi said he hopes the kitchen will be ready by Oct. 29.
In addition to burgers and milkshakes, the fifth floor will feature a cyber lounge that will serve different types of coffee, and Aramark will serve food from 5 p.m. to midnight during the week.
Initially, GWorld cards will not work on the fifth floor because the equipment to scan cards is still being programmed. But Jones said when the computers arrive in about a week, fifth floor staff will accept GWorld points as payment for food, billiards, bowling and pingpong. The arcade will only work with tokens, he said.
Students will be able to surf the Internet on iMac computers in the cyber lounge. Jones said the area will not be a computer lab because students will only have access to e-mail and the Internet.
The area near the cyber lounge and Dine-A-Vision also will include a dance floor and three DirecTV-linked television sets.
“I’m really excited about the variety of things we’ll be able to do,” Jones said.
He said the floor will maintain a sports theme and provide a sports bar-like atmosphere.
Student groups will be able to reserve the space for programming, but Jones said he can not promise that other members of the community will refrain from using the public space at those times. Jones said the only area that can be reserved with the assurance that no one else will be there is the bowling alley, which will remain the same as before.
The new version of the fifth floor will offer some of the same amenities as before the construction. More than 20 video games, six or seven billiard tables and at least two pingpong tables will return. The arcade will include car-shaped racing games and some other popular games, Jones said.
Unlike before, the fifth floor no longer will have classrooms and might serve as a “stress-free zone” during finals, Jones said. He said the Hippodrome should replace the former commuter lounge that was on the ground floor and offer entertainment alternatives to drinking alcohol.
The new fifth floor will enhance student life and give GW the feel of a real campus, he said.
“We’re looking for the Marvin Center to be a student union, the center of student life,” Jones said.